Kreg pocket joiner device

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Forum topic by ferstler posted 10-14-2008 10:33 PM 16914 views 2 times favorited 89 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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342 posts in 4573 days

10-14-2008 10:33 PM

I recently saw a lengthy video ad for the Kreg pocket joinery device.

I have been using biscuits for years and one thing the ad did was disparage the entire concept of biscuit joinery, dowling, and tongue and groove. I can see the point and the Kreg device looked very competent in some areas. Of course, they made the various projects look easy as can be. It rarely works out that way with any project I have tried.

Anyway, I would greatly appreciate some comments here from anybody who has had experience with that Kreg joinery technique, or other brand pocket joinery devices, too, or has talked to others who have had either good or bad luck with the approach.

One thing I did think about was what to do when the specialized drill bit wears out. If you sharpened it with a Drill Doctor machine its length would change slightly. Also, is it so esoteric that you must purchase replacements only from Kreg?

One other point involves the screws, which the ad indicated were specialized Kreg designs. Can other brands be used? Seems like that should be OK.

Howard Ferstler

89 replies so far

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 5130 days

#1 posted 10-15-2008 12:06 AM

I use quite a bit of pocket hole joinery, but not with Kreg . . . I have a cheaper knockoff. I have not seen the video you mentioned, however if the project looked easy they probably were. This type of joinery is a breeze and it quite tough. I will be upgrading to the Kreg sometime in the future.

I believe that bits may be available from LV. If not they should not be overly expensive. If you change the length of the bit the jig should be able to compensate. I have only cracked off one bit in the last 3 yrs.

Yes other screws can be used, however I find that the non-Kreg are not that much cheaper than the Kreg branded screws. Keep in mind that they do come in a couple of lengths (for various thickness of wood) and in a coarse thread (for soft wood) and fine (for hard wood).

Hope this helps.

-- BLOG -

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 4868 days

#2 posted 10-15-2008 01:03 AM

You can buy all that stuff at any big box store…(now.) The bits are $20.

Pocket joinery is pretty good. There are a few quirks that you have to address when using them. The screws are the screws. You could use drywall screws….which work. But the brand named ones are really better screws. It takes alot of pocketholes to wear one out.

I have one of the simple ones and in the shop we have a pockethole machine and clamp table.

BTW, screwing into end-grain is worthless.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View BobChapman's profile


6 posts in 4576 days

#3 posted 10-15-2008 02:23 AM

I use both biscuits and pocket joinery. I think that the Kreg pocket joinery devices are some of the handiest and most useful joinery techniques there are. I use them with and without glue. They are mechanicallly strong without glueing and very strong with glue.

I would use the Kreg screws [coarse and fine] and the Kreg drill bit.

View northwoodsman's profile


525 posts in 4799 days

#4 posted 10-15-2008 02:45 AM

The pocket joinery video does make it look easy. You could do almost any joint in the video using many other techniques however. The advantage to screws is you can glue the joint, screw it together and move on. In most cases you don’t have to wait for the glue to dry. In pieces I make where I want to practice or hone a skill, or make something appear like I really spent a lot of time on it, I don’t use screws that you could find by flipping the item over. As for sharpening the bit, that won’t make a difference. The bits are available any place and are actually very good quality. The screws are reasonable. You can get various sizes for various applications with a fine or a coarse thread. They are square drive so you won’t strip a screw head ever again. You can also get various plugs to fill the holes as well. I learned a few tricks from the video included in the kit that I use in other applications as well.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View TheSerpenteer's profile


22 posts in 4587 days

#5 posted 10-15-2008 05:44 AM

I can tell you that somehow the Kreg jig was one of the first few woodworking devices I bought. Not sure how I happened on to it at that time either. It is a fantastic tool, after a little practice, it is extremely easy to use.

I’m as amateur as it gets, but I really like this jig. I’ve used it for a lot of things, not just trying to build furniture. And, it’s kind of fun.

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 5106 days

#6 posted 10-15-2008 11:50 AM

Biscuits don’t really add much strength to a joint, but are great for alignment purposes such as edge gluing a table top. I dont’ use them for everything, but pocket screws are wonderful for a quick and strong joint as long as you use the right screw type and length. And, like Catspaw says, screwing into end grain is worthless.
All in all, it’s really affordable and versitile at the same time.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 5120 days

#7 posted 10-15-2008 04:09 PM

Regarding biscuits, I know they’re not for adding strength but rather for alignment.

But, I was tearing down a plywood carcass the other day, biscuits and glue plywood edge butt joint onto plywood face. Probably about the worst joint you could think of. No dados, just a plywood edge against a plywood face, some number 20 biscuits and glue. I had to break the carcass down with a 2 lb sledge. And when I did the joints pretty uniformly tore the plywood apart rather than busting the biscuits.

I understand that a solid wood long grain to long grain glued joint is stronger than the surrounding wood and that adding biscuits does not add strength. But using biscuits for plywood to plywood adds a heck of a lot of strength.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5352 days

#8 posted 10-15-2008 04:23 PM

I have the Kreg pocket rocket, which is the cheapest one, & does the same thing as the fancier ones.

I’ve built quite a few things with it, & I’m well satisfied with it.

I bought face frame screws at Grizzly, & saved a bundle.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Bigdogs117's profile


1864 posts in 4673 days

#9 posted 10-16-2008 03:42 AM

I have the Kreg jig and I use it anytime I can. It is easy, quick & effective. I have only had it for five months, but when I am doing any kind of joint, I will always be looking to use it when I can first before considering an alternative.

-- Rusty

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5041 days

#10 posted 10-16-2008 05:20 AM

One thing you MUST do when using a Kreg jig is to make sure that your wood is square.
The screws hold the pieces together so tightly that if your pieces aren’t square, neither will be your joint.

Another tip: if you are going to paint a piece and the holes will be visible, then just use a 3/8” dowel and some glue to fill in the holes. Trim them flush and away you go. Don’t spend the money for those pre cut plugs.

The first time I ever used them was on the stand for the harpsichord I built. Steady as a rock.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View mhawkins2's profile


51 posts in 4620 days

#11 posted 10-16-2008 08:14 PM

I have used the Kreg jig for several projects and found it to be very useful.

It is quick. No clamping needed just add some glue and assemble and keep going. And so far it is extremely strong. That being said there are a few things to keep in mind.

When using pocket holes to assemble a cabinet case for instance, you need to guard against the work shifting as you tighten the screw. You do not have any dados or rabbits to hold the pieces in position. I usually clamp them in place very firmly before I tighten the screws. The shift is worse if you use to much glue.

Also 3/4” plywood isn’t exactly 3/4” so for some joints you will need shallower pockets.

Yes you can use any pan head self tapping screw, but the Kreg ones aren’t that expensive and I like the square drive.

-- mhawkins2 - why does my wife keep parking her car in my shop :)?

View KregRep's profile


29 posts in 4407 days

#12 posted 03-20-2009 10:53 PM

Fantastic to read through these comments, guys. Thanks for all the support. The entire team at Kreg would just love to see all of these positive experiences posted here.

Anyway, I just wanted to log-on and direct the thread-starter to a link of the video he saw on TV, in case he or anyone else wanted to see it again. We’ve posted it online on our website at, and on YouTube at

If you enjoy following Kreg stuff, you might also want to check out these links:
and my personal favorite…

If anyone has any questions or something I can help out with, I’d be glad to be of service!

Good luck, and good woodworking!

-- KregRep | Huxley, IA | Join the Kreg Jig Owners' Community:

View Boardman's profile


157 posts in 4814 days

#13 posted 03-20-2009 11:50 PM

Someone mention using panhead screws from various sources. Definitely use them as opposed to drywall type screws or any conehead. Drywall screws won’t pull the pieces together as tightly and can split the wood you’ve drilled the holes in. The panhead stops the screw penetration and pulls the other piece tight.

Dollar for dollar it’s the best thing I’ve ever bought in terms of what you can do with it. You’ll find lots of applications beside face frames.

I’ve seen the drill bit available from sources other than the BORGs for as low as $8.

View GuyK's profile


356 posts in 5132 days

#14 posted 03-21-2009 12:24 AM

Festler if you look at the project section and see the Country Hutchs, I built them with Kreg pocket joinery. Works great and I even used pocket joinery on the Ox Cart in some places.

Nice to see the Kreg people know where to find the woodworkers of the world

-- Guy Kroll

View oldskoolmodder's profile


802 posts in 4732 days

#15 posted 03-21-2009 12:37 AM

While I love the Kreg system, I guess it’s a bit more pricey for a reason, they are much better than the competition (in my eyes). I needed a stationary pocket hole system instead of the more portable unit I have (R3) which you have to use clamps with, and not having the money to put out for the $100+ unit from Kreg (K4 or above) at the moment. Let me tell you going with the $30 General Tools pocket Jig kit may get you by, but it’s definitely NOT a Kreg quality unit. The bits aren’t as sharp, leaving the wood ragged around the pocket hole. I’d say that if you’re going to spend $20 for a new Kreg bit, then look at the Mini-Jig kit that comes with a single hole unit and drill bit. At least you know you’ll get a good bit and if you ever need a thinner jig, you’ll have it.

I’ve used different brand screws, so you don’t have to use reg, but if I’m around Lowes anyway, it’s easier for me to pay $3.50 for 100 screws than going other places to save a few cents.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

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